Help me choose my first tripod?

Started Mar 4, 2013 | Discussions thread
Kuppenbender Senior Member • Posts: 2,144
Re: Help me choose my first tripod?

Manfrotto, Slik, Velbon, Vanguard and Giottos are all reputable, specialist tripod manufacturers. I'd suggest sticking with them at that price. Some of the newer Chinese brands may still suffer from quality control problems at the budget end, although their enthusiast models have improved considerably in recent years. Of the brands you listed, Dolica are one of the newer Chinese brands and the Vivitar and Sunpak tripods are likely to be rebranded generic tripods from an anonymous source. I'd avoid them.

I bought a budget Manfrotto tripod a few years ago (728b, no longer made, but I'm sure they have a replacement model). It was well made, a good height and felt quite solid. Then I upgraded to a ($400) carbon fibre CT3442 and I realised what I had been missing out on. It's seriously rigid, taller, half the weight, (gets used twice as often), 3" shorter folded and with a half decent ball head, so much less frustrating to use.

Buy a cheap tripod (don't worry about safety - you'll know when it's about to break as you set it up), use it for a few months, then go shopping for a decent one. You'll appreciate it all the more.

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